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Thursday, September 10, 2015

It takes more than courage

Courage is no substitute for a life-changing gift.

Halgage, a young mother of three children, knows this to be painfully true. No amount of courage and hard work on her part brought her one step closer to becoming free from poverty.

“Our life was miserable. We did not have enough food, clothing, or income,” says Halgage, recalling the immense burden she felt in not being self-reliant.

Halgage’s husband labored in the fields of others and despite his best effort, he could not earn enough income to support his family. Halgage spent her days trekking through the countryside, fetching whatever water she could find, most of which made her and her family very sick.

Then something wonderful happened. Friends of HOPE International Development Agency gave so that we could collaborate with Halgage’s community to install a water system to provide a plentiful supply of clean water to the entire community.

The day the water system was completed and operational was the day Halgage said a joyful goodbye to the 5-hour treks she had endured for decades.

Halgage knew what she would do with her newfound hours each day. She would concentrate fully on making her family’s dream of being free from poverty become a reality.

But as Halgage quickly found out, it would not be that simple. A big obstacle stood in the way of achieving her family’s dream of being free from poverty.

“We had the potential to work and improve our living conditions, but we had nowhere to borrow the money we needed to get started,” says Halgage, recalling the hopelessness she felt.

The solution to overcoming this obstacle became apparent when Halgage joined a self-help group, a small group of 20 like-minded women in her village who come together to learn new skills, support each other in starting small businesses, and solve challenges faced by their community.

Halgage developed a plan, borrowed a small amount of money, and got to work making her family’s dream of self-reliance a reality.

With her borrowed money, Halgage rented a small plot of land and purchased tools and seeds to grow vegetables, which she continues to sell, for a good profit, in small markets in the neighboring towns of Gezeso, Laka, and Belta today.

Every basket of vegetables sold increased Halgage’s confidence and her family’s quality of life. With her ever-improving confidence, Halgage expanded her small business to include buying cereal crops in her village and selling them, at a profit, at the same local markets where she sold her harvest of homegrown vegetables. Halgage and her family, with the help of her friends and fellow self-help group members, also built a new home of bamboo and thatch, using some of the proceeds from her business.

All of this incredible change was made possible because a friend of HOPE International Development Agency gave a gift that made a huge difference for Halgage and her family.

“Now I am self-employed and can help my family and send my children to school,” says Halgage, her face beaming with pride. “Our income is dramatically increased from before and we now have enough food, clothing, medication, and things like education materials.”

“I never dreamed I’d have such a wonderful life, but it happened,” says Halgage, recalling how desperately poor she and her family used to be.

It takes more than courage for people like Halgage to become free from poverty. It takes your gift.

Help a family like Halgage’s become free from poverty today.